If you have an IELTS exam this weekend, this post can literally save your score. Many people get in trouble with their IELTS Writing tasks for no reason, just because they don’t realize some things are not acceptable in IELTS letters, essays or reports. Here is a number of ways you can get in trouble with your IELTS writing tasks:
1. Using informal English in the IELTS Writing tasks.
Informal English is OK for your Speaking test – it is not OK for your Writing test. Even though not every informal word gets penalized, the more you can maintain a formal style, the better your score will be. To demonstrate the difference, informal expressions such as “loads of / tons of” should be replaced with “many” or “much”; “fed up with” should be replaced with “lost patience”, and so on. The only exception is when you’re writing a letter to a friend (in General Training IELTS) – then you have to use an informal tone.
2. Using contractions.
Contractions are “it’s” instead of “it is”, “I’ve” instead of “I have”, “we’re” instead of “we are” (these are only a few examples). Contractions are a bad, bad thing to use in your essay, they don’t save you much time and can cost you marks. Do me a favor and forget about contractions in your IELTS writing. Write “should not” instead of “shouldn’t”, “could not” instead of “couldn’t”, “would not” instead of “wouldn’t”. You get the idea.
3. Using slang.
You can use slang any time talking to your friends, but this is the only place where it belongs, in a conversation between friends. Keep it out of your IELTS essays, letters or reports. You can’t write “dunno” instead of “don’t know”, “wanna” instead of “want to” or “gonna” instead of “going to”.
4. SMS-like spelling.
We all are typing SMS messages, chatting on Skype and the like, and there is a bunch of shorter ways to write longer words. We type “u” instead of “you”, “c” instead of “see”, “IMHO” instead of “in my humble opinion”. None of these can appear in your IELTS exam, unless you are specifically trying to mess up and get a lower score than you deserve. You need to write the full word and spell it correctly, period.
I hope this post has caught you in time to prevent any of the above mistakes. Good luck with your exam!